I recently relocated my office after several years in the same location, and let me tell you, moving a business is no easier than moving your residence. In some ways, it was probably more complicated.
Nevertheless, I wanted to do it right. In some respects, we were starting over with a clean slate, and we had an opportunity to change our ways for the better.
We outfitted our new office with new furniture – well, new to us, that is. But we didn’t merely go out and buy office furniture based on price and aesthetics. Yes, those things counted too, but we also wanted to make our purchasing decision with the environment in mind.
Adrian, my Operations Manager, was invaluable to me in so many ways during the move. If she hadn’t already proven her value before, boy, she really did when we had to coordinate a total relocation! She was the one who brought green thinking into the picture when shopping for office furniture. Not only did she see it as the environmentally responsible thing to do, but she had a bit of a sentimental reason, too.
“I am always in favor of trying to repurpose older items,” she says, “not only to save money, but because of their beauty. I can’t stand the thought that so many beautiful items will simply be thrown into a landfill somewhere, just because they’re no longer brand new.”
One company we bought from was Conklin Office Furniture. Adrian was impressed with their commitment to sustainability and brought it to my attention. 65% of their manufacturing and warehousing space is hydro powered. They offer 100 different fabrics made from 100% recycled material. They even took steps to eliminate harsh paint fumes by using powder coat paint with the ability to recapture and reuse.
It was from Conklin that we first learned the terms “eco-new” and “eco-reconditioned”. As their website explains:
“With over three decades specializing in products known for their durability, flexibility and functionality, Conklin is turning our expertise to the future of furniture with Eco-New -- furniture designed to be reused.”
Conklin takes used office furniture and gives it a facelift. They professionally clean every surface, touch-up where they can, change fabrics and finishes, add storage rails and make sure you have a working lock and key.
So much office furniture gets thrown away when a business moves or closes, and much of it still has years of life left in it. What a waste. Conklin is taking steps to keep still-useful furniture out of landfills and matching it with its perfect new owner.
We bought as much from Conklin as would suit our needs, but we still had to fill in some gaps with new furniture. But even there, we bought from a company that prides itself on being mindful of the environment. On its website, the Herman Miller company says, “All told, at Herman Miller today we have over 500 people working on environmental initiatives, directly or indirectly, throughout the company. However, we make every effort to influence all of our employees' attitudes and actions in support of a cleaner environment.”
That made us feel good.
If you soon plan to spruce up your practice’s office space with new furniture, I encourage you to investigate “green” options. Before reading this post, you might not have known that such companies like Conklin exist that are doing creative things with recycling. Now that you know what’s possible, I hope you’ll consider going “eco-new” or “eco-refurbished” when you can.
And where truly new furniture is a necessity, take the time to buy from companies with high environmental ideals. It’s in your power to make the simple choice to leave a better, cleaner, more beautiful world for our children and their children. I hope you’ll join us in making the greener choice.